There was a nice discussion about implementation of self-tracking this evening over dinner in Chinatown, after the Habit Design meetup at Rock Health. Attendees included Gary Wolf (@agaricus), Nancy Dougherty (@nancyhd), Ernesto Ramirez (@e_ramirez), and other illustrious folks.
I’ve been thinking for a while that we need to develop a the concept of a Quant Coach. (http://quantdoctor NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/jim-harbaugh NULL.jpg)
A Quant Coach helps people implement and improve their self-tracking projects. The QC is knowledgeable about available sensor technologies, self-reporting tools, behavior change methodologies, feedback loops, and interpretation of data. The QC also knows how to interface with the healthcare world, to help patients who want to implement self-tracking projects in collaboration with a medical doctor. Perhaps this role could be a subspecialty for masters-level psychotherapists, health coaches, personal trainers, or just interested laypeople who can be specifically trained.
In a medical context, the Quant Coach would allow a physician to prescribe a self-tracking project to a patient, knowing that a qualified helper would be available to help smooth out the difficulties with acquiring and configuring devices, implementing the self-tracking activities in a real-life context, collecting and aggregating the data, and feeding back results to the patient and doctor. Along the way, the Quant Coach could communicate with the physician regarding any concerns or medical questions that came up.
In this model, the patient would get a lot more ongoing personal attention at a lower price point than they could get from working only with a physician, and I think the chances of overall success would be much higher.
The QC model could be implemented without a physician as well, for people wanting help implementing an independent self-tracking project outside of a medical context.
I think that the Quant Coach will be especially important in these early days of the Quantified Self, while technologies are still rudimentary and successful self-tracking is relatively cumbersome to accomplish. But the process will help better define how technologies need to improve to make this all easier, and increase the spread of the QS culture and ecosystem into new contexts.
What do you think a Quant Coach role should include? Could a curriculum and protocols be defined to help with quality control and consistency?
Comments are welcome here, or on the Quantified Self Forums:
http://forum.quantifiedself.com/thread-the-role-of-the-quant-coach (http://forum NULL.quantifiedself NULL.com/thread-the-role-of-the-quant-coach)